Sunday, January 8, 2017

That time Royce became a new baby

As always, my vacation from work flew by in a blaze of glory. Way too fun, way too fast. I've started to accept my own limitations and didn't have too many grand plans of "getting things done". My main goal was to curl up every morning in my pajamas, with a warm blankie and a hot cup of coffee, which I accomplished. Truly, one of my greatest joys in life is just waking up without an alarm clock and being able to enjoy my coffee in the morning without being in a frantic rush to get out the door. Sometimes I even had a snugly baby with me. My body is pretty conditioned to waking up before my kids since that's how I get ready for work, but to me it's not so much the time I wake up, it's just not waking up to that damn alarm to start the race against the clock trying to get to work on time. And now I've just written a whole paragraph about it, but I stand by it because that's how much I love it.

He worked hard for this 2016 New Year's Eve paper plate award.

Royce's sleep was pretty terrible over break, but it was for a great reason: HE LEARNED ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, our first day back, our daycare was like did you drop off a different baby? In just about a week, Royce learned to:

  • officially crawl with his belly off the ground
  • pull up to standing
  • clap
  • lift the flaps in Where's Spot (literally a week on this one, he got the book for Christmas and was lifting the flaps by New Years #genius)
He keeps getting stuck under chairs.
That's huge. Not to mention he's getting a tooth, he's in Wonder Weeks leap 6, and also sort of learned to wave and use a sippy cup (sort of because he's not consistent with either yet). This child's whole world has changed. It just blows my mind how much he can suddenly do. All he wants in life now is to figure out how to get to his feet and all times. 

I can't get over how big he looks.

If he's not doing that, he's working on increasing his crawling speed. 

That one time it was 65 degrees in December.
What's been exciting with Dalton is as his verbal skills continue to expands, he can tell us more and more about what's on his mind. Lately he's been talking about past events, which is really cool because I've never gotten a glimpse into his memory before. Just a few days ago I was putting away some Christmas stuff, and he saw the mug he drank his hot chocolate out of on Christmas Eve, and right away said hot chocolate. Typical stuff that's boring to everyone but the kid's parents.

I actually wasn't lazy, we went out and did something fun with the kids every day.

My dad got us annual passes to the National Aquarium for Hanukkah! Dalton was so excited and said "see fish!" the whole drive there. 

It's nearly impossible to get a good picture of a toddler and actual fish.
Other highlights included the playground, science center, and playdates with friends. 

We're pretty sure the highlight for Royce was going to Qdoba for lunch. No joke, this baby ate more than his big brother. He just kept going and would scream like a little raptor if his plate was empty.

You would probably assume that, being parents of young children, we did nothing to celebrate New Year's Eve. But you would be wrong. We celebrated the hell out of it. 

Our couple BFFs, fellow young child parents, had us over to ring in 2017.

As always, Dalton's side eye is on point. 

 I rescinded my moratorium on travel of any kind for one night (they are local but my main concern with travel was that Dalton doesn't sleep anywhere but his crib). Since they had recently moved their toddler to a big boy bed, his crib was still available. Dalton actually did great! He was exhausted from all the fun, and I think he's old enough now to understand when we explain why he's sleeping somewhere new. He passed out at 8 and we didn't hear from him until morning. 

Once the kids were asleep, we had a wild night of Heads Up, watching Times Square coverage, a few glasses of wine and in bed by 10:30. Winning. No pictures because...who wants pictures of adults? We didn't bother after the cute subject matter was gone.

I did a ton of working out, which for me at this juncture of my life means more than 20 minutes almost every day. The weather was nice so I got out for several runs. On New Year's Day I was going to just be lazy, but Dalton started yelling "mommy work out, mommy floor!". Then he kindly helped me through my pushups (which I do on my knees, I'm weak).

So helpful.
Sunday night at midnight I woke up freezing to death, with a high fever and tons of pain - mastitis again! Yay! Of course it couldn't hit while I was just screwing around doing nothing all week, it had to wait until it was almost time to go back to work. Antibiotics are tiny little miracles though and while I basically was dead to the world Monday, I was miraculously cured by the time school resumed Tuesday. Royce is now 8 months old, so can I please just get through these next 4 months without boob trauma???

I didn't have any specific health related new year's resolutions, but I was vaguely trying to join in the new year new me stereotype and just kind of stop eating crap all day long and that kind of stuff. So far, it's been a joke. While my mastitis was better, I was still dragging until it really left my system. More importantly, readjusting to work after 12 days off is HARD. It's so exhausting to work all freaking day long and a teething baby who wants us to watch him practice crawling all night (because new separation anxiety) didn't help. I still ate a lot of crap and barely exercised all week. I'm back in action now though. I'm leaving for yoga in half an hour, working on a healthy meal plan, and don't intend on being second last in this week's FitBit competition. Bring it.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


These type of posts promise to be somewhat uninteresting to the general public but that's the beauty of having a personal, non-monetized blog - I do what I want.

This Christmas was the first time I truly felt like I came into my own as a grown up and really enjoyed a Christmas with the family I created. That sounds bad. Here's the background, with a warning that I obsess about Christmas a lot. It's my favorite holiday. Sorry not sorry.

For Dalton's first Christmas, I was beyond grateful that he was in our lives. I loved spending time with him. But he was barely 3 months old, I'd just gone back to work, and I was still struggling with PPD. I was in a bad place. After nearly 30 years of spending every single Christmas in the house where my parents brought me home from the hospital, I was breaking that tradition. And traditions are HUGE in my family. I felt like suddenly I went from celebrating in the role of child, relying on my mom to make Christmas magical, to being the mom, a role I hadn't quite adjusted to yet.

He appears to be strapped in to the bumbo...first time mom much?

I didn't feel like I was home. We were still living in an apartment, and while I hadn't had a problem with Christmasing there in the past, it didn't feel like an adult home. I was so excited to share the traditions that I loved from my own childhood with my son. Except, at 3 months old, he obviously wasn't quite ready. While we went through the motions, Christmas kind of felt like any other day and deep down, I was bummed. Eric bought and wrapped most of his own gifts that year (in addition to a ton for me and Dalton, probably in an attempt to cheer me up). While this makes it sound like I was miserable and ungrateful - I certainly wasn't. I just wasn't feeling what I expected to feel in my first Christmas as a mother, a moment I'd been waiting to experience for such a long time.

Last year, I was ready to nail Christmas. It was our first Christmas in our house, I thought Dalton was old enough to kind of "get it", and I was excited to enjoy our last Christmas as a family of 3.

Then...I got hit with some sort of sinus infection/stomach bug. I spent the whole day either in bed or puking. Lame. Of course, this was a good year for it to happen, since I was way off in my expectations of Dalton. Turns out, 15 months is way too young to "get it". He liked looking at the tree and his new toys, of course, but it was just a normal day to him.

At the time, I was totally like "my baby isn't a baby anymore" and now looking back - that's a baby!

THIS YEAR WAS EVERYTHING. It was the magical, wonderful Christmas I'd been dreaming of. Finally, at 33, as a wife, homeowner, and mother of 2, I actually felt like a grown up, and like the family I've created is my immediate family. Right now, our kids are at an age where traveling is just horrible for them (and, of course, as a result for us), so we celebrated just the four of us. (We decided when we had kids that they would always have Christmas morning at our own house, but we traveled later in the week the past two years). I missed our extended families a lot, but I didn't feel like something was missing, if that makes sense.

I overestimated Dalton last year, and it seems I underestimated him this year! His receptive language is way ahead of his expressive language right now (aka he understands much more than he can tell us). While we are all in on Santa, we just didn't talk it up too much this year, figuring the kids were too young and we know there was no way in hell Dalton was getting near one in a mall or anything. He would yell Santa when he saw one on Christmas decorations, but that was about it.

Then all my friends' 2 year olds were talking about Santa all through December and I realized that we were selling him short. Of course he didn't "get it" - we had barely explained it to him! We started intense Santa education on December 23. Which maybe was for the best anyway, since toddlers aren't know for their patience or understanding of elapsed time.

Christmas Eve, we dove right into the traditions.

Appetizers for dinner.

Opening Christmas jammies for everyone.


Watching the Santa tracker and Elf while drinking homemade hot chocolate (Dalton asked to watch Santa for like 3 days afterwards).

He wanted a straw #toddlers

We also lit the menorah, since this year Christmas Eve coincided with the first night of Hanukkah. Dalton was so excited! Every night he asks for "fire" and loves watching.

Christmas morning was...anticlimactic. Royce and I got up first, which is typical. I enjoyed the fancy coffee my mom sent me in my new special Christmas mug, with a side of baby snuggles. Aka, the best start to a day anyone could ever have. We had let Dalton stay up *a bit* late to watch the movie the night before, so he didn't even wake up until Royce was down for his morning nap. Eventually, I heard him and it was the moment I had been waiting for! I got him up, told him Santa had come and filled his stocking with presents, and...nothing. He didn't care.

First, he just wanted to go upstairs and wake Eric up. While in our room, he found an empty pill bottle, and discovered it made a fun noise when he ran it along the heating vent. Every time we tried to convince him to go open presents, he yelled NO. Toddlers. #buythemnothing

We finally convinced him to open a gift. Except then he got distracted rolling around our giant Costco jug of coconut oil. Then he started playing with the tags on the couch cushions. Not even joking. #buythemnothing

Eric got his first gift started, and he sort of jumped on board.

It was...a box full of big packing bubbles! Every time gifts came in the mail, Dalton got super excited to open the box and pop them, so we saved a bunch and wrapped them. #buythemnothing He loved it.

We Facetimed with my sister's family so we could open our gifts from them. And...Dalton wanted my gift, a "World's Most Caffeinated Mom" mug. Of course.

We did, of course, buy him a few things. Finger paints, a few books, some clothes, and his favorite: a police car.

He got some nice gifts from extended family as well, and we are celebrating with my mom and stepfather when they visit next month. And of course, Royce got some exciting items like clothes, new pacifiers, bath toys, and teethers. Speaking of Royce - he started crawling on Christmas Eve! He's been army crawling for a few weeks, but he figured out the up on all fours style and now he's off and running, so to speak.

My mom sent Royce a copy of "Where's Spot", a top family pick since 1983, when I was a baby. It was one of Dalton's favorites, but his copy is well loved, and it was time Royce had his own. Dalton is thrilled and not only demands that we read it over and over, but has been caught several times "reading" it to himself, which is actually the cutest thing in this world.

Christmas day was spent lounging in our awesome new matching pjs, slowly trying to convince Dalton to stop playing with random crap around the house and open gifts (#buythemnothing), and baking cookies.

It was pretty much the perfect day with my favorites.

#buythemnothing source - something on instagram that my mom told me about but I was too lazy to look up, let's just be clear that I didn't come up with it though.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The most wonderful time of the year!

I had a bunch of stuff I planned to blog about, but life happened and now I can't remember any of it so here are some random updates while I'm home with mastitis (breastfeeding is so magical).

I attempted a Thanksgiving turkey trot. I ran the 5k last year while pregnant and pushed Dalton in the stroller. Last year I couldn't believe I would have a six month old next to Dalton in a double stroller come Thanksgiving 2016 and I couldn't wait to find out what it would be like.

It was like my own little slice of hell. It started adorably.

Then at 1.5 miles, both kids basically lost it and after stopping a few times to try to improve the situation I realized there was no option other than to just finish this race as soon as humanly possible. I broke into what qualifies as a sprint when pushing a double stroller, and was that crazy lady pushing the screaming children through the race course. 

Long story short, I parked like a tenth of a mile from the finish line but at that point I had no interest in adding a tenth of a mile of this nonsense to my life so it was a DNF (did not finish). I also ended up doing the last 5-ish minutes walking, holding a screaming, kicking two year old, while a very nice mother of a 15 year old boy calmly pushed my screaming baby in the stroller. A high point for me, for sure. It takes a village, and all that. I promised to pay it forward in 15 years. Hold me to that. 

After that, Royce's first Thanksgiving was wonderful. Another win for the spring baby timing: having him sitting at the table and eating solids during the holidays is a lot of fun. 

This picture doesn't show that, but it's so cute.

Dalton loved being part of the preparations, of course.

Taste testing
Also over Thanksgiving weekend, we did potty training bootcamp.

It Or something. 
We are now diaper free, aside from naps and nighttime. Diaper free, with still plenty of accidents. This potty training - not for the faint of heart. I am 150% in the two under two camp....but for the first time I see why people space out their kids a tad more and get this out of the way without an infant in the mix.

Royce is still loving eating solids! It's the only time he really ever gets mad, when he can't get the food quickly enough. Last night Dalton fed him some Saag Paneer (one of my #1 go to recipes, but not with tofu, real cheese!) and I just sat back and wondered when Dalton will be old enough to bathe and dress him as well.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Seeing four stockings hanging in my house makes me so happy. Dalton's first Christmas was when he was only 3 months old, and I was still really struggling with the adjustment to motherhood. Last year, I was throwing up all day and had a bad sinus infection and barely made it out of bed all day. So I have high hopes for this first Christmas as a family of four to really be magical!

Dalton made a gingerbread man candy dish at one of the Home Depot free workshops for kids - toddler moms, go immediately! Dalton loved it, and they have one every month!

Royce met Santa (at Home Depot). Dalton wanted no part of that.

Dalton did enjoy making and decorating Christmas cookies with his buddy.

Particularly once he realized he was working with edibles. 

All that's under my Christmas tree currently is my work bag that I threw down yesterday, with 15 days to go I'm woefully behind on gifts (although is still considered behind if that's what I do every year?). However, I did make good on my big 2016 New Year's Resolution and ordered Christmas cards. Look for one in a mailbox near you!

I got Lularoe Christmas leggings and I'm obsessed. I also had a party, and now I have plenty of LLR in my closet. It sucked me in, and I'm not mad.

I also got a Spectra pump. No regrets. 
Dalton can now climb out of his crib. Terrifying. He hasn't done it on his own yet, only when we are there, but it's fairly easy for him. This morning he climbed right into Royce's crib to give him a hug when we got him up.


At 7 months old, Royce can now sit up on his own.

Happiest baby ever.

He can also army scoot all over the room, and he gets up on his hands and knees all the time and rocks. He's so close to traditional crawling!

We think he's about to take off 72 times a day.

#twoundertwo was one thing. Having a talking, opinionated, potty training two year old and a mobile infant is another!

Just hanging out on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf.

 I can't think of a non-cliche way to say that I love it but it's crazy and exhausting. So there you have it.

What fun holiday activities has everyone done?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Halfway through Royce's first year

This may be my second rodeo, but I still find it completely mind blowing just how quickly babies change. Royce has had so many firsts and big transitions since I’ve posted about him. (Or at least, since I’ve done a specific update post, since all my posts are about kids now.) He's now more than halfway to his first birthday and has officially doubled his birth weight at nearly 16 pounds! The day he turned six months, I couldn't bring myself to put him in his crib at bedtime, and just held him for hours and cried. I love this fun baby age, but it's racing by way too fast.

Just loving on each other as per usual.

The day I ran the half marathon, Royce somehow flipped himself onto his stomach while completely swaddled. I’d always heard that you have to make sure you stop swaddling babies once they are able to roll IN the swaddle, but I assumed it was just something the swaddle companies said to avoid getting sued. I never thought it was something a baby could actually do. I certainly couldn’t roll 180 degrees in what is essentially a strait jacket. But apparently Royce is living up to his name, and rolling like a champ.

Like this, except he flipped to his belly while both his arms were IN the swaddle

So I was faced with one of my biggest nightmares: stopping the swaddle cold turkey. There was nothing I wanted to do less, but it was now a safety issue. (If he rolled to his belly while swaddled, he may not be able to roll back and could potentially suffocate, even though luckily when he did it as a surprise to us he was smart enough to raise his head and yell for Eric.) It did not go well. The whole point of a swaddle is that babies don’t really understand how to use their hands and tend to smack themselves in the face and yank the pacifier out repeatedly and as you may imagine, this makes it difficult for anyone to fall and stay asleep. I was already exhausted from the race, and now sleep was a total shit show.

We tried all different things, one arm out, both arms out, no sleep sack, holding on to a lovey to give his hands something to do, sleeping on his belly, etc. We had varying levels of success but he still wasn’t really sleeping too well. Finally, I caved and moved him into his own room. I really didn’t want to. I say it’s because I don’t want to go up and down stairs in the middle of the night to feed him, but really it’s because I like having him close and I miss him. However, in addition to the slapping himself in his own face issue, he has become more sensitive to noise and when I would come up to bed he was waking up at the slightest sound, so I can only imagine I was waking him throughout the night.

Once we moved him to the crib, we started to work on moving him away from night nursing like we did with Dalton at this age. Not night weaning, just not using nursing as the go to every time he wakes up. If he is crying (not fussing, but actually crying), Eric goes on and works on soothing him, and, failing that, brings him to me to eat. Eric is usually able to get him back to sleep, so the past week or so I’ve only had to wake up once or twice a night to nurse. It’s glorious. I feel like a new woman. I don’t even sleep with the monitor (Eric keeps it with him) so I don’t hear anything and only have to wake up if Eric brings him in. Our pediatrician was adamant with Dalton that he didn’t need milk at night nutritionally, but that didn’t feel right to me so I continued to nurse at night if needed until he weaned completely.

With Royce, I saw a medical student for his six month visit (with the pediatrician supervising). He said that all babies are capable of sleeping through the night at 6 months. This seems crazy to me - every other baby milestone has a huge range of when they might reach it, but at 6 months they can magically all sleep through the night? I don't buy that. While many babies do, it hasn't been the case in our family and I don't see anything wrong with that. I also feel Royce is still hungry during the night, especially since he often only has two of his three bottles at daycare. I think he’s holding out for straight from the tap, which is fine with me. I don't really appreciate when people give me their opinions on how much food should be on my plate, so who am I to decide when my kids should or shouldn't be hungry? (Not that our house is a toddler free for all snack buffet.)

Sadly, Royce had his first illness recently.

Poor little guy was crying a lot at night, so unlike him.

I picked him up from daycare last Monday, and our sitter said he’d woken up from his nap feeling hot. His temperature was 101 when we got home, not really concerning, but enough of a fever that we decided to keep him home the next day. That night, he cried every time I tried to lay him down, so he ended up sleeping in bed with me, nursing most of the night, just like when he first came home from the hospital. In the middle of the night, I realized he was burning up and his fever was almost 103. Poor poor Royce. It ended up being an ear infection, nothing a little amoxicillin couldn't fix.

First time in the swing!

Royce was back to his normal cheerful self just in time for the big sixth month event - starting solids!

First up: avocado, which he mainly just played with, but he seemed to enjoy that and Dalton certainly found it fascinating.

First time in his high chair!
Carrots are really where it's at.

I wasn't sure about this whole baby led weaning thing but I sliced up a carrot and roasted it with some cinnamon and nutmeg (allowed? unclear) and Royce loved it. He was able to pick up the pieces from his tray and get them in his mouth! He did a more sucking and gnawing than eating, but he definitely seemed to like the taste and was really focused on getting more pieces in his mouth.

We've packed up so many baby items recently. The rock and play, bouncer, and the baby bath. Royce has graduated to the duckie tub!

Dalton just makes my heart explode every day with his love for his little brother. We went to Wegmans the other day, and I usually wear Royce in the ergo while pushing Dalton in the cart. We were lucky enough to snag a tractor cart (full disclosure - I made Dalton sprint towards it with me when I saw another family with young kids in the parking lot - Wegmans only has like 3 of those carts so you have to be ruthless). Dalton said "Royce sit here" very insistently, and while I wasn't totally sure Royce was ready, since he can't sit up on his own yet, I tried it out. As soon as I put Royce in, Dalton started showing him how to put his hands on the steering wheel to "drive". I died.

Tell me this doesn't warm your heart.
Dalton is constantly checking in with Royce, giving him a hug or kiss or making sure he has a toy. Patience doesn't tend to be a strong suit for toddlers, but Royce often grabs his hair, as babies do, and since Dalton has an amazing afro, Royce really gets his strong baby grip in there. Dalton always just calmly gets our attention to ask us for help, and never tries to shove Royce away or get aggressive with him. It just blows my mind that he has been so loving towards him since the very first day he came home from the hospital. The sibling bond is truly amazing.

That pretty much sums up life in our household lately! Every time I turn around, Dalton is saying something new or doing something so sweet and/or hilarious, and Royce just chills, smiles, and takes it all in (or spots something interesting on the other side of the room and rolls away).